TKO’s Virtual Office

When Dave Kirby left The Agency Group in late 2005 and established his own L.A-based company, TKO, he provided Pollstar with a cryptic but intriguing quote.

“There’s a need for change.” Kirby said. “Virtually all of the companies were formed in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and, as a result, are set up for those eras. I think it’s high time for an agency to be set up for 2005.”

He would not elaborate other than to say TKO would be “high-tech.”

For a year now, Kirby has kept his cards close to his vest although Pollstar has tried from time to time to get him to spill the goods. He considered it but ultimately kept quiet.

But the hard rock agent is feeling more comfortable now that TKO’s Web site,, launched in September. He’s still cautious about what he can discuss, but is obviously a proud papa.

“The way I look at it, most of the stuff you’d find on a typical Web site currently in existence is all contained on the street sign on the opening page,” Kirby said. A click on the “street sign” brings up the agents who work at TKO, their clients and the company’s address.

The Web site is a virtual concert venue, with an entranceway, lobby, concert hall and backstage area. The public is allowed into the same areas it would be in the real world. The lobby includes a television that displays news on TKO’s artists, and the concert hall shows videos (TKO client Buckcherry is currently on stage). And if promoters wander in and see avails on an artist’s itinerary, they can try to get backstage.

“We’re not asking for your credit card or your home address,” Kirby said. “We’re just saying, ‘Please identify yourself so we know that you’re real. If we can see you’re Michael Belkin, then of course you’ve got a backstage pass.”

The backstage area has four doors, one each for artists, managers, production crew and promoters. Pollstar got a quick peek behind the last door on the right.

Inside the “Promoter Office,” a visitor can download the full TKO avails.

“We would normally send them around to the other agencies,” Kirby said. “Now all we’re giving to other agencies is the link. It’s completely up to date and it’s used for creating tour packages.”

Also while in the office, a promoter can bring up a detailed offer sheet for any band on TKO’s roster. What happens after that is still on the down-low, but the promoter will eventually get an e-mailed yea, nay or something in between.

“I’ve done my homework and we feel we do not need to issue paper contracts to promoters because I don’t trust the mail, I don’t trust couriers and generally they’re just not 100 percent dependable. TKO has never issued a paper contract since its inception,” Kirby said. “What is 100 percent dependable is, when I send an e-mail, I know whether it’s hit their server or not and if they’ve received it.”

The promoter receives the contract, all amendments and the rider in one shot, in PDF format. Whether the promoter signs and returns the contract via fax, Internet or carrier pigeon is of little concern to TKO, but Kirby said the e-mailed files keep promoters honest.

“There’s great promoters out there that I could trust babysitting my children, but there’s also promoters who write bad checks,” he said. “Now, if a promoter says day-of-show, ‘I didn’t get the rider,’ a tour manager can say, ‘No, no. Here’s what you received, here’s the day you received it, here’s the server that opened this file, here’s the contract, here’s the rider and, as a matter of fact, here’s your comments to the rider you sent back to TKO and here’s the stamp from TKO saying your comments are accepted but the changes aren’t.”

According to Kirby, the tour manager can visit the backstage “Production Office” at 2 a.m. and have up-to-the-minute information for settlement.

“Before, managers, artists, tour managers and promoters had to call us and request whatever information they were after. All of that’s over now. It’s a brand new day.”

– Joe Reinartz